Interactive Dialogue on the oral update by the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Ukraine. NB8 Lithuania (19.12.2023)

UN Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue on the oral update by the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Ukraine

Statement of the Republic of Lithuania, on behalf of Nordic-Baltic States delivered by H.E. Ambassador Darius Staniulis


19 December 2023

Thank you, Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Lithuania.

We thank the High Commissioner for providing information on continued severe violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine.

We are alarmed with the attempts of the Russian authorities to legitimize its unlawful and brutal attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Forced conscription of Ukrainians to the Russian military; and forced application of Russian legislation and appointment of Russian judges in Ukrainian territories under temporary Russian control clearly violate international law, including international humanitarian law.

We strongly condemn Russia’s decision to hold Russian presidential elections in 2024 in the territories of Ukraine that Russia temporarily controls. Conducting such so-called elections would represent yet another manifest violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Nordic-Baltic States will never recognize the holding of these so-called ‘elections’, or their results in the territories of Ukraine.

Furthermore, Russia launches powerful missiles on densely populated areas in Ukraine. These attacks have resulted in thousands of civilians injured and caused damage to civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and kindergartens. We reiterate that indiscriminate attacks as well as attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are strictly prohibited according to international humanitarian law.  

We are appalled by continuing reports of arbitrary detentions, torture, ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence and death – including as means to obtain information, humiliate or punish detainees – perpetrated on Ukrainian territories temporarily controlled by Russia. Illegal deportation and forced transfer of Ukrainian children is particularly alarming. Those responsible for violations of international law, including international humanitarian law as well as violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable. 

Mr. High Commissioner, last week during commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, states pledged to protect and promote freedom, equality and justice for all. How would you recommend to effectively ensure that everyone, including Russia’s top leadership, are held fully accountable for their crimes?

I thank you.